Sunday 30 October 2011

Preparing to Fly with a Baby - Babies First Holiday

Preparing to Fly with a Baby - Babies First Holiday

Back in the day before Leo was even a twinkle in my eye, my other half and I had a very active social life. We lived for going on holiday and for weekends away, we enjoyed fancy meals out and going to nightclubs.

When I found out I was pregnant I vowed that we would still do all of the above, maybe not as often or even straight away....but when we had a routine in place, I knew there would be the oppurtunity to take baby away on holiday and for nights away.

18 weeks down the line we are yet to brave a night away with Leo...let alone going abroad! So next month I am letting myself in for the shock of a life time. We are off to Tenerife with Luke's family and I know that I have so much to organise, it's a full bag just for a day out, let alone a week over seas!

I am so nervous now about going away, as I know there is so much more involved...I have no idea about how to sort taking the push chair and car seat, what will happen with the bottles and milk due to the strict security measures and who knows what else I am un-prepared for.

Luckily...We are staying in a Villa. This does put my mind at ease somewhat, as it is a home from home. It will have everything I need in order to get Leo sorted each day. Deep down though I know that I am completely un-prepared.

So I ask you....What do I need? How do I go about getting everything on board the plane while keeping my cool and also keeping Leo in check?

I am looking for any input that can ease me into my first travelling experience with a baby.

My List of essentials:

-Microwave Steriliser

-Milk Powder

-Milk cartons (for the plane)

-Baby Sling (ideal for carrying through the airport)

-Sun Lotion

-Baby's First float Clothes for everyday

-Swim Nappies Nappies (Of course)

-Car Seat

-Push Chair

-Muslins (lots of!!)

Monday 24 October 2011

Full Circle - A Pregnancy Story

This time last year I fell pregnant. My life was about to change for ever, and at this point a year ago I had no idea what changes were about to take place.

I became aware of these life changing transitions on November 4th 2010 - schocked is an under-statement, but I knew that I was going to rise to the occasion and bring a baby into the world.

So this is where my journey began and I cannot believe a year has past already.....What a difference a year makes! I would like to walk you through my 9 months of pregnancy and document these changes, and discuss some highs, and even lows!

6 weeks Pregnant - First Trimester

So here we very early pregnancy shot! After finding out very early on I wanted to take photos of my tummy so I could see my baby growing, and also reflect back upon the changes my body went through.

I was extremely lucky, I had no morning sickness and pretty much sailed through my 9 months of pregnancy. I kept my pregnancy on the low from everyone but my other half....but Mum's have an amazing intuition.....I was outed days after I had found my Mum! The extreme tierdness I had been experiencing shone through and the jig was up!

I had wanted to keep it quiet until I had my scan, so I could announce that I was pregnant and the baby was cooking just as he should....I say right from day one I was so sure that I was having a boy.

9 week pregnancy scan - ultra sound - first trimester

At what should have been my 12 Week Scan, which I was booked in for early on December 3rd 2010, I was put back a week, to 9 weeks gestation and given the due date of July 4th 2011. I had worked it out for the 27th June with my GP on my booking in appointment.

At 9 Weeks my little bean was wriggling about...It was fascinating to watch him darting around on the screen but I could feel nothing. He was so small...

My baby was growing just perfectly, and there were no concerns...I then realised that I now had to tell the world that I was going to become a Mum! This thought was daunting and I was terrified about telling everyone my amazing news....especially my work!

I took the time to tell my family the night after my scan, but I decided to wait until I was 12 weeks gone before I told work, I needed to make sure that I was out of the woods before I made my pregnancy common knowledge. I informed work on Christmas Eve, after making a special effort to go in as I had been signed off work with the Flu!

I had worked myself up for the conversation and in hind sight, I can't for the life of me understand why!? The conversation went with no hiccups, raised voices or judgemental opinions. Work now knew that at some point in the summer of 2011....I was going to become a MUM!

I agreed with work that I would work right up until the 1st of July 2011 - I was due to have my baby on July 4th! Which gave me the weekend...If Leo came on his due date. I carried on as normal at work and worked hard so that they could see I did not need to go on Maternity leave until very late on. I did not want to sit around waiting for bubs to make an appearance. I needed to keep busy!

My baby grew and grew each week, with my expanding tummy growing to accomadate all of his needs, at my 16 Week Midwife appointment I first heard the whooshing of his heartbeat. A magical sound that I managed to capture on a recording during my pregnancy.

Second trimester - Pregnancy33 weeks pregnant bump

My 20 week scan had been booked in for the 14th February 2011 - Valentines Day. I was so excited to be finding out what the flavour of my baby was going to be! Was 'Bean' Pink? Or Blue? I did not have to wait long to find out! My other half did not want to know the sex, so we had come to the arrangement that I would find out and keep it hush hush! Of course this was never going to work and this deal didn't even last a minute! As soon as a midwife whispered 'It's a boy' into my ear, I shouted 'I knew it!'

20 week pregnancy scan

I had kept it no secret that I thought I was carrying a baby boy....So with my reaction shouted pretty loudly, the gender of our baby had been discovered! The scan was amazing, all the checks were done and our baby boy was growing just as he should. The scan picture we were given was amazing and so very clear.

At 20 Weeks I had not felt any movement, this was due to having an anterior placenta. This means the placenta is right on the front, cushioning movement that may have been occuring. I did not get proper movement until around week 25, and this quickly went from soft kicks to really hard jabs in the ribs!

The feeling of a baby moving inside you, is so difficult to describe but it is an amazing feeling....knowing that you have this little person...a little life just growing and growing inside of you.

Back in December I had booked in a 3D scan for the 2nd of April 2011, at 26 Weeks - at the time this felt like an eternity away. It quickly came around and my other half and I took a day trip over to Birmingham to see our baby boy for one last time before his birthday.

3D Scans are amazing technology and it is a very personal experience, seeing your unborn baby's face in such detail is a real must and I cannot recomend it any higher than I do. I am lucky enough to have many photos of Leo in the womb and also the whole scan on DVD, to go back and watch at any time I want. This is something that will amaze Leo in years to come....he can look back in on himself while he was in my tummy. To me this is just brilliant, and it is something I look forward to sharing with him.

3D Ultrasound - Pregnancy Scan
He had grown so much in just 6 weeks and to think how far we had come since the first scan back in December...the changes were immense! Leo looked like a little angel sleeping. He was sleeping with his hands up by his head and for the majority of the time had them strategically placed accross his face obsructing our view in! I had to do lots of shifting around in order to try and move his hands so we could get a good look!

Leo was not playing ball, so his hands are up by his head in every image! He still sleeps like that to this day....

This was my last glimpse of Leo until he was born. I had lots to keep me busy what with work and making sure I had everything ready for Leo's arrival! I never slowed down, I was constantly on the move, and I didn't want to slow down either....

At the end of May for the bank holiday weekend, a big family holiday was organised. I was 35 weeks pregnant at this point. My family are big walkers so I knew that we would be doing a substantial amount. We ended up doing the Clifton Gorge walk! It was up and down steep slippy rocks....right next to the river, you really had to be on your toes! Everyone was worrying that all the dips and dives may cause my waters to break! I kept at it....all be it I was completely 'K'O'd' by the end of it.... but I completed the walk 35 weeks pregnant! I have to admit, I was extremely proud of myself for pushing forward and not letting my current whale like appaerance slow me down.

So now we are weeks away from the arrival of my little bean...who by now is not so little any more! I am feeling heavy, tired and I just want to get finished at work so I can enjoy a bit of time off before the immanent arrival of bubs. After returning from Devon I was due to start my antenatal classes, they were a lot of fun and I met other expectant Mum's who were due around the same time as myself.

These classes ran right up until Friday 24th June 2011. I finished my last session and went back to work for the afternoon. After I finished for the day....I did not know it at the time but I had finished for maternity leave! I was then in the early stages of labour and did not even know it. Leo was then born on Monday June 27th 2011 at 39 weeks gestation - for a more detailed account, please see My Birth Story.

It was a whirlwind 9 months and as much as pregnancy is an amazing thing, I am happy to have my body back, happy that Leo is here and healthy and very much enjoying his life! 

3rd Trimester - Pregnancy Bump3rd Trimester - Pregnancy Bump

So this brings me back to a close of.....where I was this time last year. I have grown in so many ways and even become a Mummy. I hate how fast time is going by. I hate that very soon I am going to be back at my 9-5. I just want to make the most of my time with my son.

 This time last adventure was just beginning......and as Leo grows older, my adventure is just getting more exciting!

Wednesday 19 October 2011

You know you are a Mummy when.....

You know you are a Mummy when.......

You Can do almost everything with one hand....while holding the baby in the other!

You expect to be awake at least once a night for a feed....and when they sleep through until 8, thats a lie in!

You can rock out with sick in your hair, mainly because you do not know it is there!

When you look forward to possit rather than projectile vomit, but know that either way there will be some....and it will most likely be in public!

When you have accomplished the mission to get the baby bag packed, yourself and baby ready....and then he needs ANOTHER bottle before you can actually get out of the house!

When you know you would do anything in the world for your little person, and cross mountains to prove it!

When it comes down to it, you do not mind getting up aimlessly in the night even when bubs just wants to play games!

When you take them for their jabs...where you have to be cruel to be kind. You just want to cry along with them....even if you try to hide it!

When you have to go back to work.....and provide for bubs...even if this is something you really do not want to do.....and then continue to do all of the above!

You know your a Mummy

You know your a Mummy when......You will do whatever you can possibly do in order to provide love...stability and a future for your baby. In my case this means heading back to work in April. This thought is very scary for me, I always knew this was the way it needed to be but now Leo is actually here and it is no longer just a is something I need to action in the oncoming months.

I know that there are going to be so many firsts I am going to miss, but this is what I have to sacrafice in order for me to bring in the money, and continue to buy Leo everything he needs and all the things I want him to have.

The idea of returning to a 9-5 after being out since the end of June scares me much will have changed and will I still play a role where I feel I can contribute? Will I even remember what I am doing!? How am I going to feel leaving him Monday to Friday?

For all the working Mummy's out there, please tell me how you do it!?

Tuesday 18 October 2011 is weaning time!!

Leo is now 16 whole weeks old!

My oh my....I am finding myself just wondering where the time has gone. The changes that have taken place in my little baby boy are so very clear, he is no longer a tiny baby but a little chunky monkey!

This last week he has become even stronger and I am sure he is not far off sitting up...all by himself!

16 week old baby - baby development

As the title of my latest post suggests, I am at the point where my little boy is after a little more than just milk. I know there is so much controversy on when you should start weaning your baby, but I firmly believe that the baby will let you know when they are ready.

Leo is downing 8oz bottles…..he has gone from sleeping in the night… waking up for bottles! He watches in awe at the family when we are sat eating dinner, he is so head strong and as you can see is not far off sitting.... as a final demonstration of readiness, he is taking the food so well off the spoon!

I know that there is a 4 month growth spurt and that could be partly to blame for the waking in the night....but I do believe he is ready.

I know this will raise a few eyebrows and there will be some people who may disagree with me introducing solids at this stage. Leo is thriving and we shall not be running before we can walk so to speak…..we will take it slowly and go at his pace….I have simply taken the first baby steps into introducing Leo to food.

When I say I have made the initial move to introduce solids into Leo’s day to day routine, I have only implemented baby porridge, I feel this is not as bland as baby rice and gives him some different flavours and textures too! Which he is absolutely loving!

What are everyone’s views on weaning? When did you plan to introduce solids? Did you stick to what you initially planned out?

Baby weaning - baby lead weaning

Thursday 13 October 2011

Leo's Daydreams.....

You may all be familiar with the blog 'Mila's Daydreams', however if you are not it is a blog that was set up by a very clever Mummy on her maternity leave, when her baby sleeps she creates scenes acting out the dreams going through her little girls head.

Please take a look at her very creative and original blog right here.

Please note all credit lies with 'Mila's Daydreams'.

I was inspired by this and decided to give some of her ideas a go, as these days being 3 and a bit months into my maternity leave I do have an awful amount of time on my hands! I figured these photos would provide a smile and happy memory for Leo and myself in years to come and it was alot of fun trying to re-create the ideas of 'Mila's Daydreams'.

So here is Leo not so asleep....hanging out on the washing line!

Baby on the washing lline - Mila's Daydreams

Leo chilling out on a crescent moon....

baby on the moon - Mila's Daydreams

Mila's Daydreams

Leo's halo shining bright...

Mila's Daydreams
Finally my favourite image...Leo riding his horse full speed!

Have any of you got any Daydream photos to share?

Wednesday 12 October 2011

A Birth Story - June 27th 2011

Water Birth in Inflatable Birthing Pool

Leo Matthew was born on June 27th 2011 at 12:56pm weighing a healthy 7lbs 15oz, he surprised the world by making his appearance one week earlier than expected. I was due on the 4th of July 2011 and not due to finish work until July the 1st!

The whole experience was so positive and I could not have asked for a more amazing time of it.

I was niggling on Friday 24th June, but I just carried on as normal, I finished work and attended my final antenatal class without even, for a second thinking I was going into the early stages of labor.

I left my desk cluttered under the pretense I would be back in the office on Monday morning, where I would have got my things tidied away for my impending leave….but I never got that far.

I went about my weekend as I normally would, I still didn’t mention how I was feeling to anyone, but by Saturday night I was getting more uncomfortable, even though I wasn’t feeling myself…I still managed to drive myself and the other half a 30 min drive for drinks in a nearby town! Although being heavily pregnant I did get ID'd....and to add more comedy to the scenario of a full term pregnant women going to a club…in labour…I was attending an acoustic night at my friends gay bar!

Water Birth with gas and air - Gas and Air

We sat and had drinks until the early hours and then I drove us back home again. I had no problem going off to sleep upon getting home but woke up at 5am and could not go back to sleep. I ended up getting up and watching some very early morning television, before being able to drift back off.

I wasn’t in any pain; the only description I can think of is a tightening wave low down in my abdomen (not at all what I expected contractions to feel like!).

By Sunday these tightening waves were coming more frequently but I still didn’t think anything of them, not for one minute did I realize this was it and labour was setting in!
It was a really hot day and I was hiding away from the heat to try and stay Sunday afternoon I had, had a show and decided that it may be best to give the hospital a call to find out what they thought. I was advised it sounded as though I was in early labor but it could take days…And to basically labour as long as I possibly could at home.

Water Birth in Inflatable Birthing Pool with baby

My younger sister had fallen out of a tree earlier in the day and my mother had to take her to hospital where they put a temporary cast on for her, I called her to let her know I was possibly in the early stages of labour, and then promptly told the other half, but he didn’t believe that it could possibly be labour!

He decided that I should go with him to look around a derelict cinema that is under refurbishment, So off we go to the building site for a good look around, up and down steep steps with this tightening wave in my abdomen becoming more frequent and more uncomfortable.

I carried on as I normally would; I even managed to get one last shopping trip in at Tesco - even if it was just for ice lollies! The other half dropped me off at home and popped over to his Mother’s for the afternoon, I decided to stay at home as I was not at all comfortable by this stage.

By the time he came back at around 10:30pm I was even more so uncomfortable. So when everyone else went off to bed I couldn’t even lie down, let alone sit! My night consisted of pacing around the house..all night long! I couldn’t sleep at all as these tightening waves were very noticeable, but still not painful and still all in my lower abdomen.

Breastfeeding newborn in hospital

The other half got a full night’s sleep until around 6am and I had spent the night pacing and eating ice lollies with the younger sister who was up with her broken arm.

The other half got up around 6am and called the hospital for me, they spoke to me and advised that as I was talking through my contractions that I couldn't be that far along, He rang back at around 7:30am and they said exactly the same thing, they told me to have a hot bath and call back after this point I was getting very frustrated! So we did everything that the hospital advised and called back one last time, and they finally gave us the green light to make the 20 minute drive in.

The other half had already got everything ready in the car so all I had to do was get into the car and be driven to hospital, but sitting was not going to happen! I essentially had to lie on my side in the front seat! It was the most uncomfortable and longest journey of my entire life. There was a pressure low down that I couldn’t begin to describe and there was a 'lump' pushing down. I was told a bit later this was the head coming down.

Upon getting to hospital I walked myself into triage....thinking that I was going to be sent home. They checked me over and find that I was already 9.5cm dilated! They too seemed very surprised that this was the case.

Newborn baby after water birth

I informed them that I wanted a water birth and they said that they best get it all set up pretty swiftly and get me straight over to delivery! I had gone through the night dilating and only had paracetamol. I was very proud of myself.

Despite the earlier frustration before being allowed into hospital, resulting in me losing my temper and stamping my feet (in which I hurt my little toe, I had done it all with nothing but over the counter pain killers.)

They got me the gas and air, and as soon as I had this I could breathe through each contraction with no problem at all. The midwife said she had seen me while I was walking across the car park and she was very surprised to find out I was in labour. She was in the process of setting up the pool for me but as I had my gas and air, I was pretty relaxed and knew that very soon I would have my baby boy.

The midwife put her hand on my bump and asked if I could feel anything, I thought for a moment she was being funny and was referring to her hand being on my tummy, which of course I could feel. She informed me that I had just had a very strong contraction and should actually be climbing the walls at this moment in time, she was very impressed with how my body was coping with the contractions…and for that matter so was I.

First time parents in hospital after birth

 My Mum was back at the hospital with my younger sister getting her new cast put on for the long haul, she had been worried as she didn’t think I had been coping with the labour very well. No-one realized quite how far into the labour I acually was. The other half ran into my Mum while he was getting my bags from the car and came along with him to see me. She was immediately put at rest as soon as she saw how relaxed I was on the gas and air.

The midwife had everyone leave but my other half so I could get into the pool, and as soon as I got in I relaxed even more. The water offered a sanctuary, where I let the water completely take me over.

The midwife said to do what my body was telling me, she said if I needed to push...then I should push.....I couldn’t understand how I would know when to do this!.I had always thought this would be something they would check to make sure of the fact I was actually ready to push. Having the pool birth was brilliant as it gave me more control and there was no medical intervention.

I had got into hospital around 9:30am and was floating around in the pool for the first few hours, having chats with the midwife and the other half, but the other half was soon hungry and went to get some food from the cafe. The midwife had gone to let him out of the security door...  so she helped me out of the pool so I could use the bathroom.

Newborn baby in hospital after birth

As soon as I pushed down to go for a wee my waters broke! It was painful and I must have let out a scream as suddenly another midwife was helping me back into the pool, again once I got the gas and air I was able to cope and breathe through each contraction.
The urge to push had come in strong; I had to give in to my body and start pushing. The other half was still getting his lunch, apparently he was at this point debating whether or not to eat in or take away!

The first midwife had come back by now and the other had gone to find Luke.

By the time they had found him, the baby’s head was almost here, He couldn’t believe how quickly it had all progressed in the time he had been gone.

He never did get to eat his lunch....

I kept on pushing (this was the most painful bit where I had no problem screaming and shouting! according to other half all I screamed was AWCH!) I can remember thinking this is it...and stopped pushing....then in the next instance, I realized the sooner I put my all into pushing, the sooner I would have my baby and the sooner it would all be over.

So with four big pushes my baby was delivered.

Newborn baby in hospital after birth

He was put straight onto me for skin to skin, and he was left attached to the placenta until this was delivered naturally, and then Luke cut the cord.

I could not believe how my 9 months of pregnancy had now come to an end and I had an actual baby to show for it, and it had all happened 1 week early with me supposed to have been at work in the office.

It was all so natural and I can’t believe it all happened as it did, and so quickly!.Everyone was amazing, the midwives were so helpful and friendly and just let me get on with it in my own way, and it is by far the greatest experience of my life.

Leo Matthew was born on June 27th 2011 at 12:56pm weighing a healthy 7lbs 15oz; he is my little munchkin and just getting cheekier as time goes on.

First Time parents with newborn baby